I am an optimist, and proud of it. I may be a publisher, but I’m not of the breed which amplifies disaster for dramatic effect or monetary gain. I prefer to celebrate success, and to share stories where adversity is overcome. My glass is always at least half full. I determinedly walk through life with a whistle and a smile. Regardless how bad the news of the moment may be, I know that things could always be worse, and that tomorrow will surely be much better than today. But even I, confessed Pollyanna that I am, have had some difficulty seeing the bright side of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
For months now, we have been inundated with daily rations of doom and gloom. A massive explosion. Eleven people dead. The continuous failed attempts to cap the sprung well. A widening gyre of spewed oil. Coastlines and wetlands threatened. Fragile ecosystems under siege. Growing hostility and demands for immediate resolution. And only the bleakest prognostication for remediation. I admit that the silver lining is excessively thin on this one, but I am an optimist and I refuse to join the hopeless herd.
Yet, I am also a realist. I readily admit that I see no good whatsoever in the tragedy. It is a disaster of almost incomprehensible proportions, and I join with the company, its employees and indeed every sentient being on the entire planet in mourning the loss of life – both human and other. No, there is nothing positive to be found in the spill itself – but there will be in our collective response to this unprecedented event.
If you believe Newton’s law of motion, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Though it has not yet become fully evident, there is a growing groundswell dedicated to counteracting this catastrophe, and preventing a similar event from ever occurring again. There are countless scientists and billions of dollars committed to spill prevention and leak containment, to wildlife protection and environmental remediation, to new technologies and more effective safeguards. Piece by piece, and step by step, these things are already making themselves known. Mark my words: we will see much more of the same in the weeks, months and years to come.
History shows that events such as these are often responsible for momentous advances in human knowledge. I do not celebrate the oil spill, but I do look forward to the enhanced pool of wisdom that is sure to come. The price we’ve paid is too dear for it to be otherwise.